What break? IndyCar teams pick up in-season testing this week

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Six consecutive weekends of on-track activity are in the books for Verizon IndyCar Series teams, but even though the next event isn’t coming until the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader on June 27-29, that doesn’t mean they’ll spend all their down time on the couch.

In fact, a lot of teams are using the schedule gap to focus on in-season test work at a variety of tracks – primarily ovals – that the series will visit later this summer.

Iowa Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile, and Pocono Raceway, along with the road course at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, will host test sessions for teams over the next week and change according to the series.

Tomorrow, Iowa hosts Texas winner Ed Carpenter along with the entirety of both Team Penske (Will Power, Helio Castroneves, and Juan Pablo Montoya) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Briscoe, and Charlie Kimball). For those in the region, the test will be open to the public with a viewing area above Turn 3 of the 7/8-mile bullring.

Then on Wednesday, a two-day session at the Milwaukee Mile will begin.

Wednesday has the Chevrolet-powered Team Penske joining a gaggle of Honda-powered squads including Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Carlos Munoz), A.J. Foyt Racing (Takuma Sato), Dale Coyne Racing (Carlos Huertas and Justin Wilson), Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (Josef Newgarden), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Mikhail Aleshin) and Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports (Simon Pagenaud).

The Wednesday testing is open to the public, and a food truck will be available for fans at lunch time behind the Mile’s grandstand. Thursday will see a reduced level of attendance with Carpenter and the Ganassi camp taking to the flat West Allis oval. Then on Friday, Iowa holds another test with Rahal Letterman Lanigan (Graham Rahal) joining the Andretti, SFHR and Schmidt teams.

Next Tuesday (June 17), Pocono has Team Penske and Dale Coyne Racing. After that, the Ganassi and Schmidt teams will set up shop for a two-day run at Sebring on June 18-19.

Pocono will also host a second test on June 19. KV Racing Technology (Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra) is expected to run with the Andretti, Carpenter and Rahal teams.

Malcolm Stewart sidelined by knee surgery for ‘extended duration’

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The knee injury that kept Malcolm Stewart from mounting up for Anaheim 2 will require surgery and he will be sidelined for “an extended duration” of the Monster Energy Supercross season, according to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team.

“I just wanted to give you guys an update,” Stewart said on Instagram. “It’s not the news you guys want to hear, but I took a spill last week and hurt my knee pretty bad to the point that we’re going to have to get surgery done.

“I’m definitely bummed out about it; I felt we were riding pretty good and were just now starting to get the ball rolling, but it is what it is.”

Stewart’s season started with high expectations until accidents in the first two rounds left him 15th in the standings.

He ended 2022 on a high note, finishing a career high third in the Supercross standings. He then missed the start of the Pro Motocross season with another knee injury.

The 2023 season appeared to live up to his expectations. Despite back-to-back accidents, Stewart contended for podiums at both Anaheim 1 and San Diego. He won his heat at San Diego.

“It was very tough to receive the news that Malcolm will need to undergo knee surgery,” Nathan Ramsey, Team Manager for the Husqvarna team said in a press release. “He has worked so hard to be in a position to win races this year and I truly believe he was ready.

“The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing program will support him in every way that we can through his recovery and we can’t wait to get him back on track and back at the races.”

Stewart joins 250 rider Jalek Swoll on the sidelines after he broke an arm in a practice session. Swoll will be relieved by Talon Hawkins beginning this week at Houston, Texas.

A replacement rider has not been announced for Stewart, which means the focus shifts to his 450 teammate Christian Craig, who currently sits 12th in the standings with three top-15s in the opening rounds.